Bruno Fernandes’ Obsession: Man Utd’s Search for a Deep-Lying Monster
And it’s only going to happen if you can locate someone with that full profile, someone skilled enough to fit into a top side and carry on playing with eyeballs on every side of their head.
Since Michael Carrick’s retirement, Manchester United seemed to have spent every summer trying to buy a player of that level for the midfield, yet every transfer window, they always end up back where they started, although with much less money.
Any midfielder who is connected to the team is enough to make that poor player shudder. In football parlance, it’s a location where most go to rust away and die.
If United wants to formally express their interest, Joao Neves might be the one to break the curse.
The 19-year-old Portuguese midfielder is making waves, shattering hearts, and having fun while ping-ponging balls, all while sporting a shirt that is tucked in and screams future star.
We use the word “future” loosely because Neves is playing as if he has already arrived. It seems more and more like Portugal is about to make a significant move.
While the 19-year-old is playing for Benfica, his stocky, short build and deceptive recovery pace are what stand out about him.
Possessing the determination of a prime Neil Warnock on a Saturday afternoon, Neves blends a pitbull-esque demeanor with a shine that is uncommon in others. The player who takes a combative midfielder and makes them extremely pricey and desirable.
The tucked shirt appears to be exerting a lot of force at first glance. But if you look closer, you’ll notice that it’s not all a front; Neves has stunning passes down the field to go along with every bold tackle he makes.
In today’s game, it almost seems too wonderful to be true that he can balance technical mastery and merciless aggression, but that is precisely what has made him such a valuable asset to Benfica at such a young age.
Observing him and considering United’s midfield, it’s easy to see why they’re eager to get in front of the queue for his services.
João Neves – The Next Kimmich
— ' (@TheShowtimeReds) November 15, 2023
In terms of profile and potential alone, Joshua Kimmich, Sergio Busquets, and a teeny bit of Paul Scholes all rolled into one.
That’s an incredible mix of traits, even if it’s merely a method to highlight Neves’ style of football play.
It makes sense that Bruno Fernandes, his international colleague, is itching for him to visit Old Trafford.
He said, “I would love to have him at United, he has top quality,” to Portuguese outlet Sport TV. But João has the last say.
He praised the player, saying, “He’s a great player and he will have a great future, in United or somewhere else.”
Hard to argue with that, especially from a man who is the one in midfield getting the ball off him and has close up views of him. Given his range of skills, Neves is both an incredible jewel and something of a weirdo.
It’s not necessary for midfielders to be physically intimidating giants. Teenagers are an endless supply of energy, always taking down players and snuffing the ball away from their feet. They are the ideal fuel to send individuals into the changing room in a rage or into the stands in excruciating pain.
When he isn’t doing that, he is filling in the blanks and delivering precisely timed passes that make you go “ooooo,” checking all the boxes for a contemporary creator.
Neves is one of the best prospects in football for whoever signs him. United must ensure that they are the ones to permanently resolve their midfield issues.